Don Zimmer, Painter of the Port Tobacco River

Many of you know Don Zimmer as a long-time Port Tobacco resident and PTRC member. Don and his wife, Sherie, led the team of volunteers who conducted the water monitoring that established the baseline for water quality conditions and still supports our advocacy to protect and restore the river and its watershed.

You may be less familar with Don’s work as a painter and historian of the river. His original research on the river and its people has given us fascinating perspectives on the places and stories that give the Port Tobacco River a strong sense of place. Don has further illumated these events in his paintings, which you can view, along with the stories behind them, on his website, “All this really began with a desire to make a contribution to the work of the PTRC and the restoration of this little river we are stewards of,” said Don.

“The Landing” depicts the evening arrival of a small sloop off Goose Bay/Brentland in July 1790 carrying the four Carmelites and Father Charles Neale on the last leg of their journey from Belgium. The restored monastery they soon founded is located off Mitchell Road in La Plata. “High Cliffs” shows another sloop on an early mid-summer morning in the late 1700s anchored off shore of present day Loyola on the Potomac Retreat House just south of Mount Air. 

High Cliffs